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2013 EMH Cabernet Sauvignon Black Cat Special Selection, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  This is very tight and in fact, much less forgiving than bottles tried a year and two years ago.  The nose is dusty with black cherries.  On the palate, cassis and medium tannins.  It opens a bit with air, but at this point, it should probably sleep for five years.  If you must open one, give it 8+ hours of air.  There is a nice wine in there once it opens up, but a much higher potential.  

1999 Dehlinger Syrah, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Purple/ruby in color.  The nose has some volatile acidity which blows off to a slight degree.  It is also dusty with cherries.  On the palate, tart black cherries.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This seems past prime and moving slowly downward.  It needs to be consumed soon.  That said, it still provides plenty of pleasure at age 19.  Food would certainly help.  

2016 Arkenstone Sauvignon Blanc, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Silvery green/gold in color.  The nose has minerals and wax with slight tropical fruit.  On the palate, this is soft with low acidity but still quite refreshing.  The Semillon seems to dominate at this point.  Blind, it drinks like a ripe white Bordeaux.  Peaches and minerals with some waxiness.  Should work with a lot of foods.  It will be interesting to see how this improves, if at all, with some age.  

2013 Fontodi Syrah Case Via Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

One of the best Syrahs from Italy (not exactly a great compliment) and from one of the best wineries in Tuscany.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has a slight aquarium note and one wonders how long this has sat on a warm shelf (if at all).  Mostly, that is a question because these often don't sell without encouragement from a shop owner or sommelier.  On the palate, it seems much fresher.  Nice acidity.  Black cherry fruit.  Light tannins.  It takes some time but opens in the glass.  A unique expression of Syrah, the vineyards are warm but the profile is a bit cooler.  There is some depth. 

2006 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone, Wine Review

One of the great producers in the Southern Rhone and one of the few who doesn't have a super pricey luxury cuvee and so everything goes into the basic wine.  The price on new releases does hover into three digits now, but it is well worth it.  This was pop and pour and while it may have benefited from 30 minutes of air, it is drinking very well right now.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has raspberries, clay, and garrique.  On the palate, this has a beautiful texture.  Black cherry fruit layered with spice and minerals/rocks.  Complex.  Probably at or close to peak.   Will work

2013 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Mt. Veeder, Wine Review

This cab is known for being backwards and taking a long time to come around, yet, this, while still in need of cellar time was drinking quite well.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, and spice with some black cherries.  On the palate, cassis, spice and black licorice notes with firm but manageable tannins.  Goof balance and finish.  If drinking before 2013, give it some air, but it should go well with heavier or roasted dishes.  There is certainly some room for improvement.  One of the best Mayacamas Cabs in years!

2014 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, USA, California, Napa, St. Helena, Wine Review

Do not open this bottle now without a long 8+ hours of decanting.  This is tight as a drum.  86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot.  Bright purple in color.  The nose has cedar and cassis.  With air, blueberries, chocolate and spice emerge.  On the palate, this has an almost seamless texture.  Shut down completely at first though and showing no fruit.  With air the cassis emerges along with a wall of tannins.  It seems like all the pieces parts are there, but in a four hour tasting, it never really opened.  Based on prior history with this winery and how it did sho

2012 Jarvis Winery Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has sweet plums, black cherries and sandal wood.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, black cherry pie.  Delicious if ripe.  Some heat.  This is more of a cocktail wine to be drunk on its own.  It will prove to be a difficult food match.  Perhaps is settles down with some cellaring.  Drink in the next five to be safe but who knows, it might last twenty.  

2013 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose is dusty with cherries and a slight root beer note.  Strong tannins!  Sour cherry fruit on the palate.  Good acidity.  Some depth.  Despite the youth and tannins, this has a lovely elegance to it.  This really demands food.  It will work with a wide variety of pasta dishes with or without meats.  Should continue to improve for a few years and be good for another 15 after that.  Retails for $65.  

2015 Shafer Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Green/gold in color.  There is plenty of oak on the nose along with an enticing lemon creme.  On the palate, this is very rich.  There is a lot of oak, but it seems to start integrating in the glass and no doubt, will continue to do so if well cellared for the next few years.  Plenty of lemon and vanilla too.  An almost seamless texture which is very nice.  Depending on your tastes, this is drinking well now or needs five years.  Retail is $60.  It will work with richer but lighter foods.